Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

Okay, obviously what's going on here is just a bad, blurred picture. But the longer you look at it, the weirder it gets -- the differently-sized legs, the different-colored eyes, the flattened ears with a ghost image of vertical ears, etc. -- so I was amused.

In other Sheba-related news, she caught a squirrel a couple weeks ago. I don't remember why I didn't write about it when it happened: I suspect it was just that I'd already written the Sheba/Nina picture post for the week.

I didn't see it happen, which I regret because I've seen her chase squirrels unsuccessfully so often and it would have been nice to join in her moment of triumph, but whatever. The husband convinced her to drop it almost immediately (which is weird, 'cause we can never convince her to drop the glowy ball -- on more than one occasion, she held on to it for more than 45 minutes before we could retrieve it1 -- and it seems like a squirrel would be way better than a ball), and later disposed of it.

Sheba has, so far, declined to comment.


1 We would just let her carry it around as much as she likes, but 1) it was expensive, for a dog toy, and if destroyed would be a bigger deal to replace, and 2) the packaging said not to leave the dog unsupervised with the ball, which implies that it might hurt her if she ever did figure out how to tear it apart. So we throw it as long as she returns and drops it promptly, but if she starts to take longer to relinquish, then fun time is over. Occasionally I throw the ball one too many times, and then we wind up following her around the house for 45 minutes, waiting for her to drop the ball so we can grab it, wash it off, and put it away again. This is tedious enough that we don't break out the glowy ball that often, which if Sheba would only realize this and act accordingly, she'd get to play with the it way more than she does.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pretty picture: Mammillaria (?) NOID

Okay. I feel a little better. The orchid show pictures were a little easier to sort through than last year's, because 1) the lighting worked out better or something -- more of them were decent to begin with -- and 2) I didn't take as many shots of each flower, so I didn't have to do as much agonizing over which shot to use. Some of them still didn't turn out that great, but what they may lack in quality, they make up for in quantity: I now have 91 orchid posts scheduled through March 2013, with the pictures already in place (if not any text yet). So I'm pretty sure you'll never have to wait more than 5 days between posts, even if I don't write another post for a year. (We still have 2 pictures from last year to burn off first, but after that, look out.)

Meanwhile, some cactus flowers, from the ex-job. These pictures were taken at the end of January.

I suspect Mammillaria, but I'm not positive, so if anybody has any guesses, feel free to share. Perhaps the stripes are a clue?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random plant event: Senecio cephalophorus 'Blazin' Glory'

Between trying to keep up with watering the plants, propagating new plants, keeping up (poorly) with e-mail correspondence, sorting through all the orchid photos I got on Saturday,1 trying to make decisions regarding the book (which is looking increasingly like it will not be a book, but something shorter), writing the blog, and working on half a dozen small side projects of various kinds, I'm getting very close to the point of being so overwhelmed by my list of things to do that I'm unable to do any of them. Consequently, posting is going to be light for . . . a while. I don't know precisely what I mean by "light," or "a while:" time will have to tell, but I figured I should let you know this is coming, and apologize for it. In previous years, things had normalized again around mid-June, but this year may never actually settle down: if I find myself with time again, I may have to use it on writing the "book" (or whatever the hell it's going to be) instead of posting more to the blog.

Oh, and there's also a plant. I don't know much about Senecio cephalophorus 'Blazin' Glory,' except that it's a Proven Selections2 plant and the ex-job has some this year. (I think this is the first year they've had them.) The plant in the photo is just barely more than a plug;3 I'm not sure how big one can get in a single season, but I bet large quantities of 'Blazin' Glory' are impressive outdoors when they're all in bloom.

The Proven Winners website claims that 'Blazin' Glory' can be grown indoors as a houseplant. That's probably true, but I'm positive that I don't have a bright enough spot for one. (That's been a problem for other Senecios in the past, as well.)

Plant List says that the correct botanical name for this plant is Kleinia cephalophora. The Timber Press Guide to Succulent Plants of the World (Fred Dortort) says that not all botanists agree about splitting some Senecios off into the genus Kleinia, and that in any case Senecio is the name most accepted in the horticultural world.


1 You'll probably see a lot of orchid posts during the next year. I got pictures of somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 different plants, and unlike last year, most of those turned out well enough that I can probably use them without too much manipulation.
By comparison to the last year of orchid show photos, Paphiopedilum fans will be pleased; Cattleya fans will be disappointed.
2The difference between a Proven Winner and a Proven Selection, according to the Proven Winners website:
Proven Selections® are regionally accepted, but not great performers in all locations.

Sometimes plants that are known to be very good, but generally available become Proven Selections®. Most gardeners are not aware there is even a difference in these two types of plants. However, this is our way of trying to focus great plants into the parts of the country where they will do their best, rather than sending them willy-nilly everywhere, which will not help gardeners succeed.

3 Many annuals are started in trays containing hundreds of small cylindrical pockets of soil and then are shipped to the retailer once they've rooted in the tray. A solidly-rooted plant will pull out of the tray along with its cylinder of soil; these small plants are called plugs. As soon as plug trays arrive, we repotted the plugs into the pots we were going to sell them in (usually 4"): potting up plugs is one of the major February and March garden center tasks.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pretty picture: Baptistonia echinata

If everything went according to plan yesterday,1 I now have about a million orchid photos to sort / crop / color-tweak, a task which could probably occupy me for the next eleven years or so. I only actually have two weeks before I run out of last year's pictures, though, so I'll have to go a little faster than that.

Meanwhile, this week, we have Baptistonia echinata, yet another in the very, very long line of plants that were mis-tagged: the tag said "Baptistonia echinacea," not B. echinata. I understand that it's easy to mis-write an uncommon word if there's a much more common, similar word already in your brain, but even so: does no one know how to proofread anymore? I was also disappointed because my first impulse was to hope that someone had named a species of Echinacea E. baptistonia, so as to confuse search engines, but alas.2

Couldn't find much specific information about B. echinata on-line. It's from Brazil, it's epiphytic, they like lots of humidity but are fairly temperature- and shade-tolerant; if I understand this post correctly, it's the only species in Baptistonia.


1 (I'm writing this on Wednesday the 7th.)
2 Possibly no big loss: all available evidence suggests that search engines would cope just fine, it's people who would constantly be mixing them up.